A stitch in time propels Gumede to cloud nine


Pamela Gumede

from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – WHEN Pamela Gumede was a teenager she was forced to sew her clothes because shops seemingly did not have any sizes to fit her slim frame.

Little did she know this was preparing her for a successful career not only as a seamstress but indirectly, the hospitality industry.

More than two decades later, she is her own boss and runs a sewing business that employs four seamstresses.

“I grew up in an entrepreneurial household,” Gumede (42) said in an interview with Durban Today.

“My mother is my role model. I learnt how to be a strong woman because of her,” she added.

“I studied needlework at school. By the age of 18, I was forced to sew my own clothes because shop-bought clothing did not fit my very slim frame.”

After matriculating, Gumede studied fashion design at the Durban Lindiwe Kuzwayo Academy of Fashion and worked for various designers before heading back to her hometown of Port Edward, on the south coast of KwaZulu Natal.

The lifelong dream of owning a sewing business flourished in 2018 when she was a seamstress at the Wild Coast Sun, where she was a seamstress.

It came amid her spending days altering uniforms and mending linen, while harbouring owning her own sewing business.

“In 2021, I submitted a business plan to Wild Coast Sun and they have been my ticket to achieving my dreams,” Gumede said.

“I cannot thank them enough for providing me with four sewing machines and rent-free office space. I am now my own boss and run my own sewing business, employing four seamstresses,” she said.

“I have to give credit to Wild Coast Sun. They always try their best for our community. As they equip small businesses, we can hire locals in the community. I dream of having an empire one day which provides clothing to the masses.”

At a time of this interview that is a part of a series commemorating Women’s Month (August) in South Africa, Gumede’s company was working on an order for 700 sheets and 1 700 pillows, for Wild Coast Sun.

Such an order can take a month to complete.

Last year, meanwhile, Wild Coast Sun hosted a Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) conference where Sun International took some up-and-coming suppliers under its wing and provided them with training and support.

Wild Coast Sun has brought some 15 new SMMEs on board in the past 18 months.

“We want to facilitate the development and sustainability of SMMEs so as to contribute to job creation, local economic development and transformation in the area,” Bandile Mdliva, Wild Coast Sun Social Enterprise Development and Community Liaison Manager, said.

– CAJ News













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